Does release of campaign spending report require candidates’ permission?

·3 min read

CANDIDATES in Cebu City have the discretion to divulge or withhold information on their campaign spending and contributions received in connection with the May 9, 2022 elections.

So candidates must give their approval before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Cebu City North District can release the contents of their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (Soce) to the public, election officer Edwin Cadungog said Thursday, June 9, 2022.

“Pwede man, pero kana kon adunay pagtugot sa tag-iya sa Soce or ang tag-iya mismo ang mo presentar sa Soce,” said Cadungog. (The Soce can be released if there is permission from the owner of the Soce or if the candidate himself or herself presents the Soce.)

Otherwise, Cadungog said, their office does not have the right to divulge the contents of the Soce.

“Kung na issue-han na sila og certificate of compliance, nagpasabot nga naka comply sila sa mga requirements nga gilagda sa pagsubmit sa Soce,” Cadungog added. (If they have been issued a certificate of compliance, that means they have complied with the requirement under the law on the submission of the Soce.)

However, over at the capital, Director Efraim Bag-id, head of the Comelec Campaign Finance Office, said: “Soce is a public document for public consumption. (Sec. 110 of Batas Pambansa 881). You can request a copy of it.”

Failed to submit

The deadline for the filing of the Soce was on June 8, but seven candidates in Cebu City failed to submit their documents.

Marilou Paredes, acting election officer of the south district, said candidates who were unable to submit on time will now need to forward their Soce to Comelec’s campaign finance office in Manila.

According to Paredes, the seven candidates did not win the election on May 9.

However, Paredes said this should not be a reason for not submitting their Soce.

The election officer said these individuals may be barred from running again in the next elections.

Based on the poll body’s records, Councilor Niña Mabatid, lawyer Avenescio Piramide, and Manny Momongan were among the candidates who did not submit their Soce on June 8.

Mabatid, Piramide and Momongan ran for the position of congressman for the city’s north district but lost to Rachel Marguerite “Cutie” del Mar.

The other candidates who failed to submit their Soce were candidates for councilor Alejandro Cabido, Janet Calleno and Raymundo Crystal. Mayoral candidate Juanito Luna also did not submit his Soce.

Section 14 of Republic Act 7166 states that the Soce should contain the “full, true and itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election.”

The law further states that “no person elected to any public offices shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures herein required.”

Failure to file the Soce will also constitute an administrative offense wherein the individual “shall be liable to pay an administrative fine ranging from P1,000 to P30,000, in the discretion of the Commission.”

The fine shall be paid within 30 days from the receipt of notice of failure to file the Soce, and failure to pay will prompt the Comelec to issue a writ of execution against the properties of the offender. (IRT, MKG, withTPM / SunStar Philippines)

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